Our Self Esteem Shouldn’t Depend On External Validation
We all need approval, validation and attention from others. It is a natural human trait. External validation makes you feel good. It boosts our confidence, but the conflict arises when our self-worth and self-esteem stems from what others think of us. Basically, when we give too much attention to what everyone thinks of us rather than telling ourselves that we are doing our best. This issue has escalated further with the emergence of social media, where our lives are open books and people seek validation even from strangers.
The truth is, at the core of our being, we need self-approval. We want to feel and believe that we are good enough.
When we seek self-approval from others, unknowingly, we start people pleasing. We say things that others like to hear and do what makes us more acceptable. In the beginning, it’s all good. It gets us praise, appreciation, validation and sometimes helps us make progress in our careers too, though, in the long run, it only brings disappointment.
And we set ourselves up for a life that fulfils only societal expectations. We don’t take chances and risks that might bring disapproval or may be seen as a deviation from the norm. Gradually, we lose ourselves in this race, we don’t even know what is it that we truly desire.
We start feeling emptiness, which comes out in the form of anger, anxiety, frustration, irritation and even depression. We find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster with “many highs and even more lows.”
“As an adult, your self-esteem, self-worth and need for validation must be fulfilled from within.”
When you look at the outside world for something which you should be seeking within, you are the one who loses, irrespective of whether you get it or not.
So the question is what can you do about it?
The First step to any change is “Awareness.”
Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, actions and what drives them. Know whether it’s fear or trust that drives you and your actions.
Do you feel good enough? If not, what do you do about it?
Do you work on honing your skill sets and also changing your beliefs?
Do you acknowledge your own efforts and improvements or are you your worst critic?
Accept yourself and your experiences. Take your lessons, and move forward in life.
Do not hang on to past mistakes or setbacks.
Pick yourself every time you fall and lead with self-belief and confidence.
How will you do that? By changing your thoughts and beliefs.
Change your life mantras!
Tune out the external noise of judgement and approval from others.
Tell yourself every single day –
What others think of me is none of my business. What matters the most is – what I think of myself.
This doesn’t mean that you shut others out and totally ignore what your loved ones have to say about you. It just means that your self-esteem and self-worth is not dependent upon others approval.
Another wonderful belief to adopt is
“Everyone is doing their best with the capabilities they have and so am I.”
“I can easily let go and forgive myself and others, and move forward in life.” This surely improves your emotional wellness and takes stress out.
Be your own cheerleader!
Start by boosting your confidence. Don’t look up to others to do it for you.
Give your best, and be proud of yourself.
Your job is to keep excelling in your skills and contribute to the world.
Your topmost priority is to find joy in everything you do.
Stay connected to your joy, serve others to your best and know in your heart that you are “Good enough for you.”
Last, but not the least, be mindful.
Bring more presence to everything you say and do.
It’s a proven fact that people who are mindful and have a high presence in life, experience a high level of intrinsic satisfaction and well-being.
Practice meditation and mindfulness to bring more awareness and presence in life.
The good thing about building your self-esteem by not seeking approval from others is that it helps you realise how much power you already have in changing your own life and well-being than you ever thought.
When you accept and validate yourself just the way you are, your mental and emotional health blossoms.
Dr Saloni Singh is a Gynaecologist who chose to become a full-time life coach to fulfil her passion in understanding the human mind and emotions. The views expressed are the author’s own.